Artificial salt licks can be made from plain granular salt or better sea salt which contains a lot of trace minerals besides sodium chloride. However, commercial mineral salt available in bags or solid blocks from the local agricultural feed store is best and cheaper than sea salt. These products contain higher concentrations of minerals and sometimes molasses to make them more attractive. These commercial preparations contain minerals essential for the deer’s health strong bones as well as optimum antler production.
Look under “Farm and Ranch Supply” in the yellow pages for the nearest mineral salt lick materials supply source.
The best location for a salt/mineral lick is on an existing well traveled trail near a water source and by the side of a trail leading to a food plot. Natural minerals and salt are fairly common in almost all areas where the deer live however by making one and placing them near areas you want to hunt the hunter or wildlife researcher can influence their travel routes. Do not place the lick so near water that the ground water table reaches the lick and leaches it away.
It takes longer to buy a block or bag of mineral salt than it does to make a lick the deer will use. To simulate a natural lick locate an old stump near the trail you plan to use.
Building The Salt Lick
At the chosen location use a shovel to denude the area of grass, brush or debris then dig a shallow depression in the bare soil. If bagged mineral salt was bought spread the bag, minimum twenty five pounds, in the hole then shovel dirt back over it and mix with the loose dirt. If a stump is nearby sprinkle a little on top of it to help the deer find the lick quicker.
If a mineral block salt lick was acquired, dig a hole to the depth of the block plus one inch. Set the block in place and lightly cover the block. To initially attract deer to the lick sprinkle some food on the ground above the lick. Over time the lick will dissolve in the ground.
Be aware that it takes time to dissolve a mineral salt lick block and some deer will not start using the lick until it dissolves into the soil. For this reason if a quick utilization is desired the hunter might opt for the bagged mineral salt or mix the two for longer refresh times.
Any salt lick should be refreshed at about six to twelve month intervals to keep the traffic active on the trail. This interval will be determined by the amount of rain and water table fluxuations.
Before creating an artificial salt / mineral lick check the local applicable laws . Some states do not allow the creation of artificial licks. If legal, the hunter can use artificial salt licks along with feeders and food plots Wildlife Theater.
Even if you do not hunt near one, the creation of several strong salt licks will be doing the driving public and the deer herd a service, especially in cold weather states where salt is used to melt ice on the roads and deer migrate to the roadsides to get to it.